The Humble King

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”  

Philippians 2:5-7

There has never been a greater depth of humility than what we find in Jesus. He was a man marked by astonishing sacrifice. He lived in utter devotion to God the Father and us, his undeserving people. Philippians 2:5-7 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

Jesus became a servant so we could be made sons and daughters. He took on flesh that our flesh might find true redemption. He emptied himself of that which he was rightfully owed that we might receive grace upon grace, which we’ve done nothing to deserve.

The coming of Christ we celebrate at Christmas is entirely descriptive of the heart of God. Just as Jesus came to make a way for us, he comes still. Just as Jesus came that fateful day millennia ago, he comes to meet with us still. And just as the world received its greatest gift in Jesus, we still find in the presence of God our greatest gift on a daily basis.

We can find hope and joy in the fact that we serve a humble King. Our King does nothing from selfish ambition. Unlike us, he does nothing to better himself or cover for his own inadequacies. Rather, because he is already entirely full and complete, he gives of himself freely that we might live in the light of his grace and love. He doesn’t use his deity to demand anything from us, but instead to give us life, breath, and meaning.

Take time today to rest in the humility of Jesus. Find hope for your past, present, and future in the simple truth that Jesus has and will continue to be everything you need. And open your heart to receive the life-giving presence of your humble King.

1. Meditate on the humility of Jesus. Allow Scripture to paint a clear picture of the heart of God.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

2. Choose to trust in the humble leadership of God. Give him every part of your life knowing that he doesn’t lead you out of selfish motive, but leads you entirely for your good.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

3. Take time to rest in the presence of Jesus. Receive the gift of his nearness. Find joy in the depth of his love.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

 

The Lord Gives Direction

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.”

Psalm 37:23

Isaiah 48:17-18 offers a hopeful yet heart-wrenching promise of God. Scripture says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” What would it be like to experience peace like a river? What would it feel like to float on a continual stream of rest and contentment? How would past circumstances have turned out differently if only we would have listened to the commandments of God? Isaiah makes it clear that a lifestyle of peace and righteousness is readily available to us if we will simply follow the Lord our God “who leads [us] in the way [we] should go.” Let’s open our hearts and minds to the Spirit of the living God today and ask him to mold and shape us into followers of his direction.

Psalm 32:8-9 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” The Lord is faithful to give direction. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s word illuminates the ways in which we should go physically, emotionally, and mentally. His word is designed to influence the ways we think, feel, and act. If we will choose to follow the direction offered to us in Scripture, we will discover a wellspring of peace and righteousness that completely drenches every part of our hearts with passion and purpose.

Scripture is also clear that God continues to speak to us and offer us direction straight from his voice. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” All throughout the New Testament we see God’s people living and working by the direct word of the Lord. The Holy Spirit loves to speak to us and give us knowledge of his plans for us. Our job is to keep our ears open to him and to respond anytime he offers us direction. He longs to lead us daily into the incredible plans he has for us. He longs to direct us into abundant peace, joy, and purpose. As his sheep we must acknowledge the leadership of our Shepherd and trust in his guidance.

What situation lies before you today in which you need the direction of your all-knowing, loving heavenly Father? Where do you need peace and righteousness today? Where do you need your path illuminated? Dive into the word and God’s heart under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and search out his commandment for your life. Tune your ears to the frequency of God’s Spirit and listen to whatever he would say to you. May you discover the direction you need today as you pray.

The Prayer

1. Meditate on God’s desire and ability to offer you direction through his word and voice.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.” Psalm 37:23

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

2. Where do you need God’s direction today? Where do you need the peace that comes from knowing God’s will and desire for you?

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’” Isaiah 48:17-18

3. Ask the Spirit to direct you right now, and dive into what God’s word says about your circumstances.Trust that God will speak to you perfectly because he loves you. He will make his will known to you if you ask him.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.” Psalm 32:8-9

God’s Judgment and Faithfulness

“I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you have humbled me” – Psalm 119:75

I love reading this verse as we can never fathom God’s infinite wisdom or fully comprehend the depths of His love. Like the psalmist, sometimes I question and complain to Him when unpleasant events happen (Psalm 13). Despite all the complexities and mysteries in His ways, His judgments are always right and just. Because God is holy and He cannot ignore sin. Though He readily forgives when we repent, that doesn’t undo the damage already inflicted, nor cancel the consequences set into motion. When we hear of judgment, it sounds synonymous with punishment. However, whatever the sentence is, a correction, postponement or an acquittal, in all humility we should accept it. It is best for us is to learn and grow from God’s chastisement. Whether in a painful manner or not, pay close attention for it will prevent us from suffering worse. A parent seeing their child fall into bad habits or crooked ways, will surely correct their child. How much more our heavenly Father who sees everything will do! So remember don’t resent God but realize and see how faithful He is!

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your never-ending grace and faithfulness. Though I cannot see all the blessings or know all the plans You have for my me, I will always trust in You Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

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The Omnipresence of God

“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars.”- Psalm 84:3

Living an unveiled lifestyle is the way in which we experience the fullness of what’s available to us in our restored relationship with God. It’s a powerful lifestyle of faith, direct encounters with our heavenly Father, and life transformation. It’s when we live our lives in light of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus that we begin to experience all his death was purposed to bring us. God longs for his children to walk in intimacy with him directly connected to his wellspring of love for us. May you experience a more tangible, loving, and powerful connection with your heavenly Father this week.

The presence of our God is everywhere. He moves, lives, breathes, and works all around us. Psalm 84:3 declares the extensiveness of our heavenly Father’s presence in saying, “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars.” Psalm 84 proclaims that even the birds of the air find their home before the altars of the almighty, living God. Even the birds of the air come before God’s presence as they lay their young in the canopies. The psalm begs the question: if the birds come before their Creator while simply existing here on Earth, how much more available is the presence of our heavenly Father to us, his children? How much farther does his hand reach to us who are now covered by the powerful sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ?

There is nowhere we can run to and escape God’s reach. David writes in Psalm 139:7-12, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” The God of all comfort, of all mercy, of all forgiveness, and of all love surrounds you right now. And as a child of God, his Spirit now dwells within you.

Prior to Jesus’ death, God’s people did not have constant access to the fullness of his presence. The nature of his holiness and our sin created an insurmountable crevasse between us and him. But through Jesus’ death, we now have access to God’s nearness any time, any place. The veil between God and us has been torn, and we can now live our lives constantly experiencing the manifest presence of our heavenly Father.

Where do you need God’s presence to fill you today? Where do you need comfort, peace, or patience? Where do you need to be loved, held, liked, or wanted? Your heavenly Father is waiting to run out to meet you as the father did with the prodigal son. He’s waiting to throw you a party where you are his guest of honor. He loves you, likes you, wants you, and now, he has you. There is no better experience in life than connecting directly with your heavenly Father. May you open your heart and experience all that he longs to pour out over you today as you spend time encountering him in prayer.

Prayer

1. Meditate on the omnipresence of God. Renew your mind to the availability of his tangible presence.

“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars.” Psalm 84:3

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:7-12

2. Now ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his presence around you. Ask him to show you his face. Ask him how he feels about you and what he wants to do in, around, and through you today. Open your heart and mind to him. Tear down any walls you have built up between you and him.

3. Rest in the glorious presence of your heavenly Father. Take time to allow his presence to go deeper and deeper. Ask him to make you increasingly aware of his goodness and nearness.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!” Psalm 84:1-4

God the Giver of Comfort

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.”-Isaiah 66:13

Our heavenly Father is the giver of every good gift. His mercies are vast, powerful, and real. His love has the ability to completely overwhelm and satisfy every one of our needs. Everything he gives us satisfies, transforms, and leads us to abundant life. As we spend this week stirring up our affections toward God, allow your heart to become soft and open. Allow his loving character to draw you close and provide life to every dry and weary place in your soul.

The Devotional:

Isaiah 66:13 says, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” Your heavenly Father is the God of comfort. When the world takes its toll on you, he longs to wrap you in his loving embrace and bring you comfort to cover all your pain. In the face of trials and tribulations, he desires to provide you comfort in the fact that he works all things for your good. And when everything seems bent against you, he longs to sing comfort over you as he fills you with the joy and foundation of his presence.

Jeremiah 31:13-14 says, “‘Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,’ declares the Lord.” God is in the business of turning what your enemies meant for evil into the very source of your joy. He loves to transform what was once your greatest sorrow into a reason for gladness. He longs to lead you to a life of abundance and satisfaction when the world around you seems to be dry, weary, and depleted.

God is calling out to you, “Come to me . . . and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He is beckoning you to open your heart to him and receive the comfort only he can provide. Sometimes opening our hearts to him can be difficult. To have our wounds be truly comforted and healed requires allowing him to come and speak to the vulnerable and sore places of our hearts. We all have wounds deep down that we have worked tirelessly to keep hidden from others and even ourselves. We all have areas of our lives that seem to hurt too greatly to bring up again, even if the very act of bringing them to the surface will be our source of healing.

When God beckons you to open up the hurt places in your life to him, know that he will only ever speak love, mercy, and forgiveness. And know that after he gets done comforting you, the area that used to be a harmful wound will be a continual source of joy, gladness, and abundant life.

Open your heart to your heavenly Father today as you pray. Allow the Spirit to guide you to wounds that need to be comforted and healed. Allow him to wrap you up in his loving presence and guide you into the abundant life he intends for you.

The Prayer

1. Meditate on God’s desire and ability to comfort your every hurt. Reflect on his promise to provide you rest where you are weary.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will heal him.’” Isaiah 57:18-19

“Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:13-14

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

2. Ask the Spirit to guide you to areas of your heart that need to be comforted and healed. What past or present afflictions have wounded you? What’s at the source of your mourning, sorrow, or pain? What does God long to heal today?

3. Ask God to show you how he feels about the person, situation, or belief that wounded you. Ask him to show you where he was through it all. Remain in his presence, allowing him to speak and provide comfort and healing. Spend as long as it takes for your hurt to be comforted.

A Prayer for Blessing

How grateful we are that You’re patient with us—willing to teach us, to speak with us, and
have us speak with You. You’re so willing to meet each and every need we have.
For those who have never trusted You as their Savior, help them to understand that the first
prayer You listen to from them is a prayer of confession, repentance, and surrender of their
life to You as their Lord and Savior.
We pray the Spirit of God will seal these truths in the heart of every person who reads them
today, tomorrow, and for years to come. May we begin to develop an intimate relationship
with You, and listen to You speak in prayer.
We love You, we praise You, and we bless Your holy name. In Jesus’ name, amen.

how to pray

Matthew 6:7-15
In Matthew 6:7, Jesus cautioned against meaningless repetition when talking to the Father. Just two verses
later, He left a pattern to help us pray. However, in using this passage, which is known as the Lord’s Prayer,
we’re often guilty of the very thing Jesus warned against: Instead of thoughtfully praying each line, we run
through the words mindlessly. But if we take time to carefully examine Christ’s words, we’ll find the pattern
that can transform our prayer life.
• ADORATION OF THE FATHER (Matt. 6:9). God the Father is the focus of all our prayers.
We should never forget what a privilege it is to bend our knees on earth and reach almighty God
in heaven.
• SUBMISSION TO HIS WILL (Matt. 6:10). Prayer should reflect a desire to align ourselves with
God’s goals and purposes, not to get Him to follow our plans.
• PETITION GOD FOR OUR NEEDS (Matt. 6:11). We are dependent upon the Lord, and He wants
us to come to Him with our requests.
• CONFESSION OF SINS (Matt. 6:12). When we repent and forgive others, we maintain fellowship
with God. But if we hold grudges, that fellowship is broken. God loves to answer our prayers when
the lines of communication are not disrupted.
• DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL (Matt. 6:13). Our enemy is too strong for us, but Christ has already
won the victory over him.
Jesus ended the prayer where He began—with praise to the Father for His kingdom, power, and glory
(Matt. 6:13). Next time you say this prayer, concentrate on each verse. Then, following this pattern will result
in a more dynamic and effective prayer life because it will be God-centered.

A PLace to Pray

As we establish a habit of prayer, we also need to pick a quiet place for prayer where we won’t be interrupted.
Christ went into the wilderness to be alone with His Father, but for most of us, it will probably be a room
in our home. Wherever it is, it will be like an altar where we meet with God to share our concerns and have
fellowship with Him.
Because Jesus lived an itinerant lifestyle, His place of prayer changed as He traveled, but prayer was always
a priority in His life and should be in ours as well. Here are some of the features and benefits of having a
dedicated prayer space:
• IT’S A PRIVATE PLACE. Jesus said to go into an inner room and close the door (Matt. 6:6). If we
are really serious about finding a quiet area to be alone with the Lord in prayer, He will provide one.
It may require a little creativity and adjustment on our part, but God wants to meet with each of us
privately so we can develop an intimate relationship with Him.

IT’S A HOLY PLACE. When we habitually meet with the Lord in the same place each day, it becomes
holy because it is set apart to worship and commune with Him. It becomes a visual trigger. We quickly
adjust to the setting and are immediately ready to talk to the Father—because that’s what happens
there. Some of the greatest things He accomplishes in our lives are the result of the relationship we
have with Him in that secluded place of prayer.
• IT’S WHERE OUR BATTLES ARE FOUGHT. Every time we go through difficult situations or
conflicts with people, we should bring our concerns to our heavenly Father and engage Him in
helping fight our battles. We need His guidance, assistance, and wisdom to know how to respond
and what to do. There will be times when no one else can help us, but He is always there to comfort,
strengthen, and encourage us.
• IT’S WHERE WE DEAL WITH OUR SINS. As we open His Word and our hearts before Him, we
have an opportunity to confess our sins and ask Him to convict us of anything in our lives that
is contrary to His desires for us. As we pray, we must give the Lord time to speak to our hearts.
Sometimes He uses a passage of His Word to convict, encourage, or direct us, and at other times His
Spirit communicates inaudibly with us in our hearts.
• IT’S WHERE WE DEVELOP AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD. There are times
when we pray with others or together as a family, but it’s only in our private times with the Lord that
we grow to know Him intimately and have the freedom to honestly and openly share our hearts with
Him. This is the most important activity of our lives—communing and fellowshipping with the Lord
Jesus Christ.
• IT’S WHERE WE LAY DOWN OUR BURDENS. God daily lifts our burdens, carries our concerns,
and forgives our sins when we confess them.
• IT’S WHERE WE WEEP OVER OUR TRIALS AND HEARTACHES. When we go into our prayer
room and cry out to God, He understands and mends our broken hearts.
• IT’S WHERE WE FORGIVE OTHERS. The Lord not only forgives our sins but helps us battle
through our hurts so we can forgive others.
• IT’S WHERE WE ARE STRENGTHENED. In this holy place we have the privilege of discussing every
area of our lives. As we pour out our hurts, sorrows, and burdens, the Lord comes to strengthen us.
Where do you go to pray? Having a dedicated place to come before God helps us focus and prepare our hearts
to hear from Him. Even when we’re on the go, we can set aside a time and place to talk with God, which ought
to be our greatest priority every day.

PRAY FOR OTHERS

PRAY FOR OTHERS. Sometimes God gives us a burden to intercede for someone else. Although
we may not be able to help, the Lord can.
• TRUST IN GOD’S POWER. Jesus said that an earnest prayer of faith has the power to move a
mountain (Mark 11:23). No task in harmony with God’s will is impossible to perform when we believe
in Him. Whatever He commands us to do, He gives us the strength and resources to accomplish. As
our heavenly Father, He’s protecting, supporting, and providing everything we need to obey Him.
• PRAY FOR DIRECTION. The Lord wants to guide us into His plan for our lives. If we’ll ask Him
for direction, He may not show us the entire course, but He will provide the next step. To receive
further instruction, we must be willing to obey whatever He has already revealed. As we keep walking
with Him, the path will gradually unfold to us.
• PRAY WITH THE WORD. Effective prayer is anchored in the Word of God. If we try to pray
without it, our requests may not be wise. But as we consistently read the Bible, the Lord will show us
how to pray wisely and according to His will